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Fuel Your Growth with Influence Channels

Influence Channels are often undervalued because they’re not always a direct path to the customer.  Sometimes they’re hard to find, which makes your investment in them hard to measure and rationalize.  But, to forego that investment can be the difference between growth and stagnation.

Influence Channels come in many shapes and sizes.  In their simplest form, Influence Channels are our families and friends.  Then, put into business vernacular, Influence Channels:

1. Are any channel that influences a customer’s decision.  In the technology world, Influence Channels tend to include software, service and communication providers – any product or service that helps the customer round out the “whole product” or solution. 

2. Sit amidst the customer decision-making process.  So, know where decisions about your product/service sit along that process.  Hint: Software and Service channels most often drive and influence hardware sales.  If you sell hardware, for instance, time to buddy up to your software and services comrades.

3. Are not Selling Channels, per se.  In other words, Influence Channels tend not to carry inventory or even officially represent your product.  The may include Marketing Channels, like blogs and social media, which may influence significantly a person’s decision to buy your product/service.

4. Don’t generally expect compensation.  While delivering a finder’s or agent fee is nice to offer, Influence Channels are not running their businesses or doling out referrals for a finder’s or agent fee.  Mostly, Influence Channels want knowledge about how your products/services fit into a customer’s overall solution and ensure customer satisfaction.

Influence Channels are often missed in a company’s channel strategies and deemed too elusive to justify investment.  Yet, those who embrace Influence Channels learn that it doesn’t take that much investment (miniscule, compared to other marketing investments).  With just a little bit of attention, Influence Channels often fuel growth in ways never imagined.

How will your consideration of Influence Channels as a critical path to growth change for you going forward?

May 13, 2013  ·  

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